Texas state lawmaker admits cocaine at airport was his

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A prominent Texas state lawmaker admitted Thursday that he dropped an envelope containing several baggies of cocaine at an Austin airport, and he said he would be seeking drug treatment.

The state police said airport security cameras caught Democratic state Rep. Poncho Nevarez dropping the envelope bearing his official state letterhead on the ground as he climbed into a vehicle on Sept. 6.

Nevarez said in a news release that “the news is true” and that he would seek treatment.

“I do not have anyone to blame but myself,” he said. “I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better.

“In a weird way I am grateful. Grief and addiction were consuming me, but oddly enough, I feel better now than I have in a long time, and I mean that,” Nevarez said.

Nevarez, an attorney from the West Texas city of Eagle Pass, is chairman of the Texas House’s Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. He announced last month that he wouldn’t seek re-election, but he didn’t say why. In his statement, Nevarez didn’t say whether he might resign from the Legislature before his term expires in January 2021, but the Legislature isn’t scheduled to meet until then.

According to police, Nevarez dropped the envelope after a flight to Austin on a plane owned by his law firm. The envelope remained on the ground as Nevarez drove away. It was later picked up by airport workers, who found baggies of white powder inside and alerted police.

An examination of the powder found it to be cocaine, police said. Authorities then obtained a DNA sample from Nevarez in October in an attempt to match his saliva to DNA found on the envelope. The details of the dropped envelope were included in an affidavit filed to support the DNA search warrant.

Nevarez hasn’t been charged, but investigators said in the affidavit that he is suspected of third-degree felony drug possession, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison if convicted. He also could be disbarred if convicted.